The artwork of internationally acclaimed street artist Banksy could be in danger as the International Olympic Committee and the British Transport Police continue their crackdown on graffiti artists in preparation for the London Games.
On Monday, Banksy, the elusive star behind the documentary film "Exit Through the Gift Shop," unveiled his two latest pieces: "Hackney Welcomes the Olympics" and "Going for Mould." One features an athlete attempting to pole vault over a fence beside a concrete wall, and the second shows an athlete holding a missile in place of a javelin.
However, Banksy's keeping mum on the location of his pieces, simply documenting them on his personal website for now. It's for good reason.
Last week, the BTP arrested professional artist Darren Cullen over a graffiti website, which he registered for several years ago, the BBC reported.
Cullen who has never illegally painted a wall, and was even asked by the British Olympic team to paint the athlete's village, has been banned from going within a couple of kilometers of any Olympic venue.
Cullen isn't the only victim of the BTP's crackdown. A colorful mural by artist Mau Mau depicting a Ronald McDonald-esque 'torchbearer' running past Olympic Rings with dollars flying out of his pockets and the names of sponsors on his front was painted over though it had the approval of the building owner, the Vancouver Sun reported.
"This attack on one of contemporary London's most renowned traditions reveals how deeply uncomfortable the cultural relationship between this city and the Olympics really is," the Guardian's Jonathan Jones wrote. "An event that is all about massive finance, colossal scale, hyper-organisation and culture delivered from above is being superimposed on a capital that happens to be best at improvisation, dirty realism, punk aesthetics and low art. It's like Versailles versus the sans-culottes. And this time Versailles is determined to win."
But the BTP may want to think twice of white washing Banksy's art. Last March, 18 original Banksy artworks sold for 400,000 pounds at an art auction ($620,000).
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